Any Last Requests?

If you haven’t heard the news by now, here it is: April 26 will be my last day at Imagine.

If you know me, you know I’m not one to dwell on what could have been, but what could be. I’m a person who is focused on exploring new opportunities and once focused, I’m the person who nails down the strategy and attacks the situation from all angles. That’s me. The dreamer to many, the pain in the butt “doesn’t she ever let up?” professional to a few.

Regardless, the point is that the act of exploring life, in all ways, is the most important act we all engage in day-to-day. If it weren’t for the dreamers, the go-getters, the people willing to put it all on-the-line, dreams would never be achieved. We would never progress.

This blog, which I’ve specifically entitled “Any Last Requests,” is not about me and my new adventure. Instead, it’s about recognizing those little nuances in life that are important to ensuring we continue to embody that explorer within ourselves.

While I have a prime opportunity (and support of those at Imagine) to plug my new adventure, I wish to share with you a few of those nuances as to why Imagine is a place of exploration and an organization that captured my heart for nearly a decade. These are my “last requests” to the wonderful team at Imagine whom I care for very deeply.

I never intended to work at Imagine. In fact, my support was intended to be a temporary fix to fulfill the needs of a burgeoning new business ten years ago. Why did I stick around? The people. Surrounding yourself with dreamers, those who find a way to say “yes” to opportunities (which is more challenging than saying “no,” by far), professionals with ambition, energy and the willingness to be a real team moving forward is what attracted me. Alex Raffi (Imagine’s creative director and partner) and D.J. Allen (the firm’s founding partner) have an incredible appetite for creativity, new ideas and forging their own paths to get to their desired destinations. I love that. Being a part of such a team is addictive. You want to be around it 24/7. Even better, it’s healthy for you to do so.

My request – Never lose sight of that creativity; the courage to share it is at the root of why people want to be around you (work with you, do business with you and so on). Alex Raffi (my “bro”) embodies this spirit. He is an incredible wealth of knowledge, inspiration and creativity. Simply put: More people should strive to be like him.

Imagine is known as one of the most professional, honest, results-driven, and fair communications firms in the state. This is attractive to employees, prospective employees, clientele and community contacts. Focus on the people has always remained top priority at Imagine. Perhaps it has made our road throughout the years a bit more difficult. (Imagine is not the “hire and fire” communications firm our profession is wildly known for.) The firm strongly believes in investing in people, not projects. Imagine doesn’t take the easy road, but it’s the correct road nonetheless. I’ve spent a good deal of my time helping fellow professionals at Imagine grow over the years, while I grew as well. Helping each other grow requires patience, the ability to set your ego aside and moreover, give everything a shot with everything you’ve got.

My request – Caring is important. People are important. Invest in people and everything else in life gets easier. It doesn’t matter how tech-savvy we get, what new Internet sites are developed … at the end of the day, we’re all still working with people. Care first. I will very much miss the people at Imagine and my daily interactions with clientele – all of whom are the most wonderful people I’ve come to know throughout my career.

I know … every communications firm is “quirky” and “fun.” In Imagine’s case, it’s true. Some of it is spontaneous. Most of it is, as I call it, “planned spontaneity.” No matter. The most critical piece of Imagine’s success is its ability to create fun and engaging opportunities for staffers, clients and friends. The best part? Fun is productive. (Imagine is hosting a workshop on just this subject in June.) It doesn’t matter what your profession is. Inserting “fun” here and there is a critical part of ensuring you have a cohesive team, and people who do business with you simply because they enjoy being around you.

My request – MAKE time to have fun. When you think back on why you do what you do in life, it likely started because you thought “this could be a good way to have fun.” Make it a business ritual.

As an addendum to this blog, I’ve included a list of random thoughts and musings I will miss most at Imagine.

To my Imagine Family: I am forever grateful to all you have given to me and to my own family.

On to the next adventure!

[Beginning May 2, Amber Stidham will be joining a team of professionals to help launch one of the most highly anticipated, cutting-edge performing arts centers in the Southwestern United States, The Smith Center.]

[For the “peeps”]

• We create.
• How do you feel about monkeys?
• Two hard hats, sticky darts and an incubator office with three people don’t mix.
• Remember: Always roll your windows up on rainy days.
• Card tables still make for a productive work space. Chair building competitions make for good times.
• First “holiday party” for Imagine – One booth at Carrabbas.
• Surprisingly, people really do love watching office dance videos. (I hope Imagine continues the tradition.)
• Where is the lawn gnome?
• Any day is a good day to pull an “emergency client needs” prank on a coworker. This reminds me that I still “owe” someone a prank.
• Carpeted hallways and Megan don’t get along well.
• Always offer to help one another … listen, be there, offer to do what you can.
• I still have my portable karaoke machine. I am a rock star (in my own mind). Thank you for entertaining me over the years – all of you.
• Inspiration comes to you at all hours of the day … in Alex’s case this is true on Friday afternoons and weekdays at 3 a.m.
• Club Saturn. Woot, woot.
• If you give someone the title of “Company Mom” – they will live up to it (like it or not). Sue, you’ll be greatly missed, but your grandchildren will be overjoyed to have you.
• Brian – I will always “have a minute.” P.S. You will love this – Hotkeys for Word. (My secret is out.)
• Alex – Please remember to …
• I still wonder what Jeff’s entire wardrobe looks like. 100% polos?
• Hand written “thank you” notes, phone calls and “face time” are still important in business.
• A link to the Rocky movie theme song just one last time.
• Always find time to help your community.
• Love not only your coworkers, but their families as well. Together, we are all one big family.

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